Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (2023)

Surprisingly, "love" and "heart" are two of the words that turn up most frequently in texts by Rammstein —at least statistically, as revealed by an analysis of individual word roots vocalized in the songs on the band's seven studio albums.

Singer and lyricist Till Lindemann most often uses words having to do with the concept of "Liebe" (love). Second place in the Rammstein lyrics ranking goes to "Herz" (heart), followed by "Mann" (man) and "gut" (good).

Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (1)

That sounds like Rammstein could perform in a cotton-candy German Schlager show, with the audience merrily clapping along on the first and third beats of a four-four bar. But listen to the complete lyrics, and the comfort zone ends here:

A man is slaughtered and eaten, a girl confined in a basement by a rapist, a man driven to death by a mob.

Welcome to Till Lindemann's little shop of horrors.

Read more:Rammstein and classical music have more in common than you might think

Goethe and German fairy tales in Rammstein

Not allofthe horror comes from Lindemann's pen. Some of the frontman's lyrics are inspired by classical German literature, exemplified by the most prominent poet in the language, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe's famous ballad Erlkönig, for example, translated:

Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (2)

Who rides so late through the night and the wind?

It is the father with his child.

He holds the boy safely in his arms;

he holds him tight, he keeps him warm.

The mood, rhythm and content of Goethe's poem are echoed in Rammstein's "Dalai Lama":

An airplane lies in the evening wind

On board is a man with a child

They sit safely, sit warm

And are lulled into falling asleep

In Goethe's poem, a ghostly apparition, the King of the Elves, whispers seductively to the child and seeks to abduct him into his realm. At the end of the ballad, the son dies in the arms of his father on horseback.

In the Rammstein song, the "King of the Winds" endeavors to claim the boy, who finally dies in his father's arms, held too tightly in anticipation of an airplane crash.

Read more:Rammstein and Wagner, kindred spirits?

Bertolt Brecht, Struwwelpeter and Theodor Fontane

There's more to it than just Goethe: The Rammstein song "Rosenrot" (Rose-Red) takes its cue from Snow White and Rose-Red, fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm.Snow White herself turns up in the music video to the song "Sonne" (Sun).

In "Hilf mir" (Help Me), the narrator plays with fire and then burns —just like the iconic Paulinchen in the old, but in Germany ever-popular book Der Struwwelpeter from the mid-19th century, in which the author Heinrich Hoffmann warned children of dangers by telling macabre tales.The duel scene in "Roter Sand" (Red Sand) recalls the one in the novel Effie Briest by Theodor Fontane, also from the 19th century.

Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (3)

The influential German dramatist BertoltBrecht, founderof the epic theater genre, alsofinds his way into theRammstein song "Haifisch" (Shark):

And the shark: it has tears

And they stream down its face.

But the shark lives in water

So you don't see the tears

Those words clearly echo "The Ballad of Mack the Knife" in Brecht's Three-Penny Opera of 1928:

And the shark, it has teeth,

And it wears them in its face.

And Macheath, he has a knife,

But the knife can't be seen.

Apart from literature, Rammstein references other elements of German culture and history. The music professor and musician Rob Burns found similarities between Till Lindemann's song texts and those of cabaret singers in the Weimar Republic. Costumes and sets from the band's live shows, he adds, echo the machinery aesthetics in Metropolis,Fritz Lang's expressionist film of1927.

Are Rammstein Nazis?

The rolled "R" and the hyper-clear pronunciation are typical not only of Till Lindemann's singing but also of the cliched depiction of Nazis in films worldwide. The band's logo recalls the cross of the Wehrmacht, the symbol of the armed forces in Nazi Germany. The performances include many pyrotechnics and spectacular lighting: These are things that, to Germans nowadays, uncomfortably recall the Nazi regime.

When Rammstein covered the Depeche Mode song "Stripped" and used images from a film by Leni Riefenstahl in the video, it was a scandal: The band were castigated for quoting one of the most controversial directors in film history.

A highly innovative director at the time, Riefenstahl supported the Nazi regime with propaganda films like Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) and Olympia, excerpts from which were used by Rammstein.

In several interviews, Rammstein havestressed that none of the members of the band adheres toright-wing ideology. In a new video, the band again takes a stand on the "Stripped" video.

In a 2015interview for the magazine Cicero, Till Lindemann explained: "I'm always supposed to analyze my texts, but I actually don't think about them all that much."

Rammstein and German clichés

Culture scholar Melanie Schiller is convinced that Rammstein represents cliches that cling to Germany as seen from outside the country: "Their depiction of masculinity is stereotypical, as are their extremely 'steeled' and 'idealized' bodies, male power, comradery and maybe also a fascination with evil and violence. The concepts of guilt, suffering, alienation and the issue of victims and perpetrators repeatedly turn up in the lyrics and the videos."

Schiller, an assistant professor at the University of Groningen, has researched Rammstein's relationship to the homeland and compared it to that of Heino, a well-known Schlager star since the 1970s. She also recently authored the book Soundtracking Germany: Popular Music and National Identity.

Defusing totalitarian ideologies with irony?

"You could say that Rammstein not only exploit German stereotypes. They are a kind of German caricature, a grotesquely over-drawn representation of what it means to be German," explains Schiller.

Rammstein's exaggerations are so extreme that the band parades totalitarian ideologies in general, she says: "Rather than celebrating these ideologies, Rammstein shows how ridiculous they are."

After all, the band hasits roots in the1980s East German punk movement, who were dissidents of a politically repressive regime.

Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (4)

German history as told by Rammstein

The trauma of a country divided into two states and the building of a wall to separate them can clearly be heard in Rammstein, says Schiller —particularly in the song "Mein Land" (My Country) from the best-of album,Made in Germany(2011).

"This song is an explicit search for identity. It's about always being locked out, about an impossible identification with a country or a homeland, about being inwardly torn, even about a kind of schizophrenia," is how Schiller explains the lyrics:

Where are you going? Where?

I'm going with myself from East to West.

Where are you going? Where?

I'm going from land to land, alone.

And nothing and no one invites me to stay.

The eternal search and the feeling of alienation, restlessness and insecurity, says Schiller, are the exact opposites of everything that resonates in that iconic German word "Heimat"(Homeland).

Rammstein: open to interpretation

Schiller adds that this is not the only view expressed by the band: "Rammstein's music and the episodes in the videos are very open to interpretation. You can also read an idealized celebration of proto-German, national identity into them. And that's why Rammstein are popular across a broad spectrum of political philosophies. How they are judged has to do with where you come from, what you want to see and how you interpret it. Both readings are possible."

It's known that the gunmen in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 were Rammstein fans. In the weeks after the shooting, several US and British radio stations removed the band's songs from their playlists.

Yet from the US to Russia, Rammstein is an extremely successful band. The concerts on their ongoing tourthat began in May in Gelsenkirchen are sold out. Do audiences in stadiums understand Rammstein's complexity?

"According to my experience, Rammstein's excesses and irony are perceived much more directly outside Germany. Those stereotypes originate there, and accordingly, that's where they are more easily understood and recognized. And most importantly, from that perspective, they are less painful," says cultural scholar Melanie Schiller, admitting that seen from the outside, many nuances, references and contexts are also lost.

But some of Rammstein's symbolism is easier to understand, such as the kiss on the lips shared by Rammstein guitaristsRichard Kruspe and Paul Landers onstage in Moscow's Luschniki Stadium. In Russia, such gestures of "Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" are prohibited by law.

Rammstein: What's in those lyrics? – DW – 08/16/2019 (5)

"Rammstein's music is a snapshot of society. And the political situation in Germany has undergone major changes in the past,let's say,five years," says Melanie Schiller, pointing to the debate over migration and flight in Europe and the resurgence of right-wing populism in Germany; the far-right populist party Alternative for Germanyhas been represented in all 16 state legislatures since 2018.

Rammstein evolve

On tour, Rammstein has used inflatable boats —an image familiar from refugees crossing the Mediterranean —in combination with a "Welcome" sign.

Schiller sees societal change directly reflected by Rammstein: "The themes of a search for truth and critical thinking have grown more explicit. Rammstein has really grown more unambiguous without sacrificing their nuanced messages."


What is Rammstein biggest hit? ›

1Mein Herz Brennt (Mutter, 2001)

What does Rammstein mean in English? ›

The extra "m" in the band's name makes it translate literally as "ramming stone". In a 2019 feature, Metal Hammer explained that the band was named after one of their earliest songs, "Ramstein", written after the air show disaster at the American airbase in Ramstein.

Do Germans like Rammstein? ›

It turns out that Germans really don't think much about Rammstein at all. While most of the people on the street were familiar with the band's name and their work, some even knowing a considerable amount about their background, most didn't care one way or another about the band's music.

Why does Till Lindemann roll his R's? ›

There is a dialect of German called Bühnendeutsch. Bühnendeutsch isn't a geographical dialect but rather a dialect used in the theatre in the German speaking realm. A feature of this dialect is the rolling of r's. If you read more about this dialect, you'll see Till use its features in Rammstein songs.

What should I wear to a Rammstein concert? ›

- Clothes should not matter, just dress light because the shows get HOT. - Learning the lyrics is a good idea so you can enjoy singing with the crowd. - Stay hydrated (related to bullet 1), the Feuerzone is named how it is for a reason.

Is Rammstein the most famous German band? ›

The second single from Reise, Reise was Amerika, released on 13 September 2004. With the album released on 27 September, it went straight to top 10 charts throughout Europe. According to the Billboard charts, Rammstein were now the most successful German-language band of all time.

What does hast in German mean? ›

[hæst] (obs) 2nd person singular present of have.

Was für ein meaning? ›

The question word(s) "Was für (ein)" (lit. "What for one") is used to ask what of which kind of person/place/thing, etc something is, usually in a general sense. The direct translation can cause some confusion, as in English, we would say "What kind of".

What is the #1 German band of all time? ›

1. Rammstein. Known across the world as a group of industrial metal freakazoid pyromaniacs, the band formed in 1994 and soon began a plot of world domination, one twisted show at a time.

Who was Hitler's favorite pianist? ›

In popular culture

In the 1964 fiction novel, Herzog, written by Saul Bellow, a Putzi Hanfstaengl is mentioned as being Hitler's personal pianist.

Who is the most famous band in Germany? ›

13 Of The Most Famous German Rock Bands
  • Scorpions.
  • Rammstein.
  • Die Ärtze.
  • Tokio Hotel.
  • Helloweena.
  • Kraftwerk.
  • Accept.
  • Sodom.

Why does Till Lindemann hit his knee? ›

Trivia. Till's popular 'Till Hammer' move, wherein he hits his knee while headbanging during live performances came from a medical condition he had with his kneecap. Sometimes it popped out from the joint and Till had to put it back in place on stage. So he started hitting his knee and would headbang to it.

What fuel does Rammstein use? ›

Rammstein's live pyro setup is the stuff of legends, as big a part of why folks go to see the band live as the music itself (an even bigger part for some fans, to be sure).

What should you not bring to a concert? ›

Every audience member deserves an uninterrupted viewing experience so don't bring things that will be a distraction to others such as laser pens, beach balls, bullhorns, and noisemakers. Bringing cigarettes and alcohol into a concert venue isn't allowed so save yourself the hassle by leaving that stuff at home.

How long do Rammstein concerts last? ›

The typical Rammstein concert features about 20 songs. With additional time allotted for the band's trademark theatricality, a typical concert usually runs for about two hours.

Are Rammstein concerts loud? ›

Rammstein shows aren't exactly what you'd call tame – there's fire, there's an entire structure behind the band, and everything is insanely loud.

Who was Hitler's Favourite artist? ›

Hitler's favorite painter was Adolf Ziegler and Hitler owned a number of his works.

What music do most Germans listen to? ›

Pop is the most listened to music genre in Germany. Followed by rock music and the quintessentially German “Schlager”, these make up the top three of the most popular types of music. The ranking is also echoed among those who purchase music CDs, though a rising share of consumers don't buy CDs at all.

Who is the best German singer? ›

5 famous German singers you need to know
  • Marlene Dietrich.
  • Till Lindemann (Rammstein)
  • Nena.
  • Nico.
  • Kim Petras.
7 Nov 2022

What is AFK in German? ›

AFK [abbreviation]

abwesend vom Computer [ex.]

What does Zahlen in German mean? ›

(transitive) to pay (money) Ich muss meine Steuern zahlen. I have to pay my taxes. (transitive, figuratively) to pay for, to atone for.

What is a Achtung? ›

Achtung, a German word meaning "attention"

What does Sie kommen mean? ›

they come/are coming. Sie kommen. you come/are coming.

What does Woher kommen Sie mean? ›

Where do you come from?

Is Ein a German word? ›

Ein and Eine are the indefinite articles in German. It's the equivalent to “a” or “an” in English. In German, a noun can either be masculine, feminine, or neutral. Masculine and neutral nouns have the indefinite article ein.

How is BVB pronounced? ›

The term 'BVB' – pronounced in German 'bay-fow-bay' – stems from the club's official name of Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund.

Is Rammstein German or Russian? ›

Rammstein, founded in 1994 in Berlin, is one of Germany's best known and most internationally successful heavy metal bands. It performs mostly in German, but also in English, Spanish, French and Russian.

Who is the greatest band ever? ›

The 10 best rock bands ever
  1. The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
  2. The Rolling Stones. ...
  3. U2. ...
  4. The Grateful Dead. ...
  5. Velvet Underground. ...
  6. Led Zeppelin. ...
  7. Ramones. ...
  8. Pink Floyd.
30 Mar 2004

What is the most popular song in Germany right now? ›

  • Lose Your Soul. Dead Man's Bones.
  • Unholy. Sam Smith & Kim Petras.
  • Atmosphere. Joy Division.
  • Mockingbird. Eminem.
  • Zukunft Pink (feat. Inéz) Peter Fox.
  • Anti-Hero. Taylor Swift.
  • Miss You. Southstar.
  • SNAP. Rosa Linn.

Who is the biggest band on Earth? ›

Top 10 Best Bands of All Time
RankBandCertified Sales
1The Beatles289.3 Million
2The Rolling Stones102.4 Million
3Pink Floyd123.4 Million
4Beach Boys32.5 Million
6 more rows
31 May 2022

Who is the most talented pianist ever? ›

Lived: 1873-1943

Rachmaninoff is often said to be the greatest pianist of all time, hands down. Rachmaninoff considered himself a romantic, and had a strong desire to continue the romanticism of the 19th century into the 20th century, unlike his Russian counterparts, who were mostly composing modern pieces at the time.

Who is the most talented pianist in history? ›

The 31 Greatest Pianists of all time
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791, Austria)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827, Germany)
  • Franz Schubert (1797-1828, Austria)
  • Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847, Germany)
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849, Poland)
  • Robert Schumann (1810-1856, Germany)
1 Jun 2022

What was Hitler's favorite meal? ›

Meat was not completely excluded. Hitler continued to eat a favourite dish, Leberklösse (liver dumplings)."

Who is the No 1 pop band in the world? ›

BTS also hold the record for the most consecutive weeks at number one, with 180.

Who has sold the most records in Germany? ›

13 million records or more
NameNationalityCertified units
Peter MaffayGerman14,350,000
Phil CollinsBritish14,300,000
Rolf ZuckowskiGerman13,975,000
Die Toten HosenGerman13,650,000
1 more row

What is the national music of Germany? ›

Deutschlandlied, (German: “Song of Germany”) official national anthem of Germany from 1922 to 1945, of West Germany from 1950 to 1990, and of reunified Germany from 1990.

What is ß called? ›

In German, the ß character is called eszett. It's used in “Straße,” the word for street, and in the expletive “Scheiße.” It's often transliterated as “ss,” and strangely enough, it's never had an official uppercase counterpart. The letter “a” has “A” and “b” has “B,” while ß had… nothing.

Why does German have ß? ›

In German orthography, the letter ß, called Eszett (IPA: [ɛsˈtsɛt] ess-TSET) or scharfes S (IPA: [ˌʃaʁfəs ˈʔɛs], lit. "sharp S"), represents the /s/ phoneme in Standard German when following long vowels or diphthongs. The name Eszett combines the names of the letters of ⟨s⟩ (Es) and ⟨z⟩ (Zett) in German.

Is Till Lindemann vegan? ›


Did Till Lindemann leave Rammstein? ›

The latest rumour "Till Lindemann would leave the band after the release of the next album" are fictitious and squashed by Rammstein's Manager Emanuel Fialik.

What religion is Till Lindemann? ›

Lindemann is an atheist. In a 2011 interview, he said that he still has strong connections to the traditions of East Germany, and that he finds "de-traditionalisation" disturbing and believes there is "no longer any authenticity".

What is gasoline called in Germany? ›

In Germany, gasoline is called Benzin (which is derived from the chemical mixture benzine). The song uses the word "Gasolin", however the word does not exist in the German language, but it is an English word made German. There was, however, a German chain of gas stations called "Gasolin."

How much does the Rammstein stage cost? ›

This stadium show Rammstein has now magnifies anything they have previously done ten-fold. The stage itself cost over 6 million dollars and takes four days to assemble.

Are Rammstein good live? ›

After two postponements due to the pandemic, Rammstein have finally invaded North America with their highly anticipated 2022 stadium tour. It's safe to say that the German industrial metal act puts on a pleasantly shocking and awe-inducing live show, one that has had its share of memorable moments over the years.

What was Max Bygraves biggest hit? ›

The Greatest Hits Collection
  • Consider YourselfMax Bygraves.
  • Jingle Bell RockMax Bygraves.
  • Try Another Cherry TreeMax Bygraves.
  • Cowpuncher's CantataMax Bygraves.
  • Mister SandmanMax Bygraves.
  • I Wish I Could Sing Like JolsonMax Bygraves.
  • The Dummy SongMax Bygraves.
  • Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'BeMax Bygraves.

What was Bronski Beat's biggest hit? ›

Bronski Beat were a British synthpop trio which achieved success in the mid-1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit "Smalltown Boy", from their debut album The Age of Consent. "Smalltown Boy" was their only US Billboard Hot 100 single.

What is Khalid's biggest song? ›

Best Khalid Songs of All Time – Top 10 Tracks
  1. lovely (with Khalid) Billie Eilish, Khalid.
  2. Numb. Marshmello, Khalid.
  3. Silence. Marshmello, Khalid.
  4. Young Dumb & Broke.
  5. Location.
  6. Better.
  7. Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid) Benny Blanco, Halsey, Khalid.
  8. Satellite.

What is the biggest hit ever? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Is Ben Folds a genius? ›

Ben Folds is one of modern music's most talented musicians. “So There” is another grand reminder of that fact. The singer-songwriter/pianist/composer's latest is part chamber pop/rock collaboration with yMusic and part 20-minute concerto with the Nashville Symphony. And it's all proof of Folds' genius.

What genre is Benfolds? ›

What was Max Bygraves catchphrase? ›

His catchphrase "I wanna tell you a story" became an integral part of his act, although it had originated with comedian Mike Yarwood impersonating Bygraves.

What was the song playing when Max died? ›

What's the song in Eddie and Max death scene? The song in Eddie and Max death scene on Stranger Things season 4 is When It's Cold I'd Like to Die by Moby.

What was the biggest hit for Echo and the Bunnymen? ›

1: The Killing Moon (from 'Ocean Rain', 1984)

Topping our list of the best Echo And The Bunnymen songs, The Killing Moon is, by Will Sergeant's own admission, such a defining tune, it's “almost like the only thing we've ever done”. But what a thing to be remembered for.

Why did Bronski Beat split? ›

Somerville left the band in summer 1985 owing to tensions within the group. He went on to have a successful career with the Communards and as a solo artist; Bronski Beat continued with new frontmen.

Why Bronski Beat meaning? ›

Bronski Beat stood out for their heart-on-sleeve declaration of gay desire. This came at a time when singers such as George Michael, Elton John and Freddie Mercury were still plugging away with heterocentric lyrics — and would themselves take years to be more open about their homosexuality.

Who wrote Bronski Beat smalltown boy? ›

Smalltown Boy

Who is the biggest SoundCloud artist? ›

Atlantic-signed rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again has been named as the Top Artist on SoundCloud's Playback 2021 end of year review. The annual SoundCloud Playback year-in-review spotlights SoundCloud's highest achieving artists, tracks, debuts and 'artist-to-fan moments'.

What is the biggest song on SoundCloud? ›

Featuring a track with over 300 million streams, here are the ten most popular songs on SoundCloud by number of plays as of February 2022.
  • Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams. ...
  • Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. ...
  • Migos – Bad and Boujee (feat. ...
  • Desiigner – Panda. ...
  • V – Scenery (풍경) ...
  • DRAM – Broccoli (feat. ...
  • XXXTENTACION – Look at Me!
2 Feb 2022

What is the best song of 20222? ›

The 25 Best Songs of 2022 (So Far)
  • Taylor Swift, “Sweet Nothing” TaylorSwiftVEVO. ...
  • Steve Lacey, “Bad Habit” Dan Music. ...
  • Rihanna, “Lift Me Up” RihannaVEVO. ...
  • Paramore, “This is Why” Paramore. ...
  • Maggie Lindeman, “She Knows It” ...
  • 1975, “About You” ...
  • Sam Smith & Kim Petras, “Unholy” ...
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Fake as Fu@k”
2 Nov 2022

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated: 01/13/2023

Views: 5560

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.